Head of Malaita ma’asina technical team has criticised the government for taking the wrong move to try and promote export led industries.
Speaking to this paper in an interview, Mr Martin Housanau said he is surprised to see why the government wants to promote export led industries when there is nothing to export.
Housanau questioned where the government get its technical advices from saying the approach the government seeks to take is like putting the cart before the horse.
“What exports is the ministry of foreign affairs and trade and the ministry of commerce trying to promote? What are we going to export? The only present export is Soltuna. All other exports are done because of the drive and strive of Small Business Enterprise at their own costs and initiative even without any tangible support from the government,” Housanau said.
Housanau added that if the government cannot support the manufacturing and processing industry, why should the government try to go into export led industry.
He questioned where the government gets its technical advices from.
“If these advices have come from the economic reform unit of the government within the ministry of finance, then they must be kidding. Because this is total nonsense advice,” Housanau said.
He said what the government should do is to promote import led industries instead of export led because that is what will grow the economy.
Housanau said a good example is the four Asian tigers that dwell on import led industries and just after ten years, their economies developed to become some of Asia’s top economies.
“The import led substitute industries should be the starting point for our economy. So that we can substitute imports of goods like rice, toilet papers, tooth paste, soft drinks and mineral water etc rather than importing these goods.
“Why do we have to import mineral water when Szetu enterprise and Blue Water can produce it here?
“Why should we import rice which cost the economy $830 million per year for imports when we can produce our own rice?” Housanau questioned.
He said export led industry is a wrong starting point to grow the country’s economy and warned the government to rethink its decision.
Housanau said the government should start with import led industry to look at what sort of products to import and other products to promote manufacturing and processing to substitute imported goods.
“And by the time when the import, manufacturing and processing industries produce more than enough for domestic consumption then, they will slowly turn to export.
If this trend is followed, I believe this economy will achieve a much better development status than what we are now today,” Housanau said.
He warned the government that if it continues to pursue this export led industry it will find its consequences that will impact negatively to the economy.
“So it would be good for the government to listen to us and take heed of what we say rather than ignoring it and say these are nonsense. Because the advices they get to pursue the export led industry is nonsense and will impact negative to this country’s fragile economy,” Housanau added.
BY DANIEL NAMOSUAIA